Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Dencik, Stephen Graham, Simon McBurney, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Kathy Burke, Roger Lloyd-Pack, Christian McKay, Konstantin Khabenskiy and Tomasz Kowalski.
Can't believe i am reviewing a movie i saw 6 months back but you can't blame me for being a Medical Student and still a hardcore cinema buff. I have been very busy around but i always miss writing about what i felt and experienced watching a movie. Here we are with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, its a British Espionage thriller with a cast of literally every famous or best British actor that exist right now. Those familiar and loved faces weren't my only reason for the excitement i had for the movie back when i heard about it but i have this place in my heart for filmmakers who pushes the boundaries and tries to do something different, something they want, something they think is right and not going the way every one else is. Tomas Alfredson, the famous Swedish director known for his hit movie Let the Right One In directed this movie based on the 1974 John Le Carre novel which was already adapted first into a mini-series. At the time of its premier at Venice and everything it was very praised, not until it was released in US when i started to hear rather polarizing reactions and some whining about how boring, dull, dried and weird this movie was. I mean why not once in a while sit and watch a movie that is not what you always see considering how this well means a lot to the people that really worked hard on this project. Movies for me are not just a reason to get away from this world and go on a ride to the fantasy land but movies for me are what life is to all of us. I see me or the person i know or heard of in movies because believe me you can't getaway from world while you are living in it and fantasy comes from reality itself.
About movie, it is set in London in the early 1970s and follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service. This movie is certainly not for everyone and is for those who knows how to appreciate things or have patience to watch and listen something like this. Thriller doesn't necessarily means to be thrilled by fast paced car chases or bomb blasts and just crazy insanity but believe me, most of the times a movie with a pace of a snail does that job the best. This movie isn't your usual espionage thriller but it acts in a very different way, i haven't read the novel it is based one but i think the screenwriters really took a closer look at the book and thought of the need to make this movie in a particular fashion. The structure of the movie is heavy, oppressive, infuriating for some audience and really a chore to sit through at first. No Exposition or very little is there which might be troubling and confusing for the non-readers, other thing i heard people saying is that its too puzzling, confound and plain bore. I personally agree on the few things and disagree on the others. While i was a trying to get into the movie for the first half hour or something but then it all became good and started getting the movie and enjoyed it but it wasn't until i gave a second try when i actually thought this movie is perfection.
Certainly one of the best ensemble cast to ever appear on the screen, every single actor delivers one of their best performances and plays their parts perfectly. You'll get their glimpse, some puzzling things about them that might feel suspicious at first and you know its about finding a mole so you kind of start compiling the whatever data you are receiving in your brain while you watch them giving cold stares to each other or walk in fancy clothes or sit have tea and talk. Each character in every single situation, scene and single frame acts like a piece of puzzle that you have to solve leading to a final act that most of you might didn't saw coming. the mole turns out to be the person you may least expect of anything like that during the movie. A little bit story of the movie because i wont be able to share everything that goes on in the movie. Movie begins with agent Jim being sent to Hungary to meet a general who wishes to sell some information by the head of British Intelligence "The Circus". Operation becomes a fail and Jim is shot by Soviet intelligence the head dies soon after that and his Right hand man George Smiley are forced to retire. Percy Alleline becomes the new Chief of the Circus, Bill Haydon as his deputy and Roy Bland and Toby Esterhase as his close allies.
They are suspicious in the eyes of Smiley and Control as they get high grade Soviet intelligence information and shares what the call "Witchcraft" material with American in exchange for things. Movie then follows Smiley who is brought back into the game for a task following agent Ricki Tarr's allegation who have been a minor part of British Intelligence. Tarr in Istanbul investigating a Soviet agent gets in affair with his wife Irina who herself is one shares a secret with him that a mole is there in intelligence run by Karla. Meanwhile Smiley visits some people who retired the same time he did followed by his investigation about Tarr's allegations that step by step proves to be right. The few people that he comes across during his investigation are said to be feeding somewhat useless information to Americans so that they can share there which is then passed on to Soviet to use it against them. The mole is revealed. The climax to be honest in very intriguing if not very shocking or just mindblowing that one might expect after seeing every single details throughout the movie leading to that one big finale but it doesn't disappoints actually. The whole atmosphere and feel of the movie is very cerebral and very grim. Perfect cinematography with the grey skyline and smokey feel and color of everything, the cold dark streets of London when Gary Oldman walks is just in itself stunning to watch. Perfect Art Direction and production design overall taking a full advantage of the era or time period it is set in, just makes you feel so wonderful like you are watching a cinematic extravaganza.
Its just fascinating for a movie that doesn't have cool gadgets and stuff that are in every spy thriller movies these days but just see conversations, whispering, people siting around a table or in a room quiet giving each other stares, a sense of paranoia and chill in the cold, rainy, dark world where you don't know exactly who to trust. About the actors, Gary Oldman is a stunner delivering possibly the best performance of his career as George Smiley. The man in this movie is just perfection, he comes off as quiet, calm, peaceful and composed man who doesn't panic in iffy situations but he is the best at his job. He have suffered a lot in his life both personally and professionally while he is not cold at heart but he just doesn't want the world to know what he is feeling or thinking. In a scene with Benedict Cumberbatch as Peter Guillam who helps him in the investigation, he finally shares some personal things with him. That scene is single most human scene in the movie just because everyone else seems to be a cardboard cutout when it comes to them being poker faced and unknown enigmatic figures who might or may not be a mole. That scene just stunned me with the chilling performance that Oldman gives, the incredible scene stuck with me this whole time. Can't get enough of the close up to his face where we see Smiley as a person. Colin Firth gives another good performance in few of the scenes. Tom Hardy though i think i am the only person that exist in the world that is never impressed by him and thinks he is severely overrated mind that i haven't seen Bronson. I mean he got fan following and raves by people for Inception where in my first watch i didn't even remembered him. But yeah this might be his best performance.
The surprise for me in this movie was how well Mark Strong was used in this movie, i have seen him playing very minor roles in movies and never given a full on chance to shine but here he gives the best supporting performance of all the actors, he blew my mind on few of the scenes. Other good performances came from the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch, John Hurt and Kathy Burke. Definitely one of the best movies of last year and a personal favorite of this genre, its a shame we don't get much movies like these for the mature, grown ups and adult audiences or simply the people with open minds.